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THE    CHINESE    CHARACTER               71

armed camps of Communism and reaction. There is a deep
chasm separating the younger generation from the older
generation, which is an extremely regrettable state of affairs.
While the thinking younger generation are decidedly for a
cataclysmic upheaval of the whole ideological and political
system, a movement of conservative reaction has set in among
the ruling authorities. The conservative reaction is unfortun-
ately unconvincing, owing to the fact that its champions are
mostly war-lords and politicians whose personal lives are far
from being models of Confucian conduct. Actually, such
conservatism is only a cloak of hypocrisy and a sadistic reprisal
giving outlet to their hatred of the young. For Confucianism
teaches respect for old age and authority. The shining political
light who utters large mouthfuls of Confucianism happens also
to initiate Thibetan-lama-Buddhist prayers for-divine succour
against Japanese aggression. The jumble of Confucian plati-
tudes mixed with Sanscrit om mani padme hum and Thibetan
prayer-wheels creates an extremely weird effect unlikely to
arouse the interest of the young Chinese.

This is the surface struggle between conservatism and
radicalism in China. Its outcome will depend largely upon
Japanese and European politics, for no mere argument will
settle the question. China may yet be driven to Communism,
if the champions of conservatism cannot prove themselves
worthy to find a way out for China. As regards the true
temperament of the Chinese race and the large mass of people
who either read Chinese only or read nothing at all, conservatism
will always remain.

Most important, however, is the fact that Chinese do not
want to change. Behind all the outward changes of custom
and women's dress and habits of locomotion, the Chinese
retains a sneering smile for the hot-headed young man who
wears a foreign coat or who speaks English too well. That
young man always looks immature and is often shamed out of
his progressiveness. Th$ strange thing is that the man who no
longer looks immature veers towards conservatism in China.
The returned student arrives at maturity by putting on a
Chinese gown and accepting the Chinese way of life. He loves
its mellowness, its leisure, its comforts, and its commonplace